How Do I Turn Off The Electricity To My Whole House? TextPicture

How Do I Turn Off The Electricity To My Whole House?

There are many reasons you might want to shut the power off to your whole home. If you have a gas leak for example, it's a good idea to shut off your home’s electricity in addition to the gas (Natural Gas Safety). Likewise, if a plumbing leak floods your house, you’ll want the power off to avoid electrocution. You would usually shut power off to the whole home only in an extreme emergency like that of a gas leak or severe flooding/plumbing leak.

Locate the circuit breaker panel

Rosie on the House Circuit Breaker

First thing's first: Locate your circuit breaker panel before you face that emergency. This panel is also referred to as the fuse box or breaker box, electrical box or service panel. As a precaution, all adults in the home should know where the circuit breaker is located. It might be found in a utility closet, outside your home near the meter box, or the basement if you have one. If your home is large enough, there may be more than once panel you need to address. It’s a metal box full of switches or fuses that is usually flush to the wall. You'll be able to turn the electricity off from inside there. 

If your box is full of switches, they control your home’s electrical circuits. Flip all of them to the “off” position, and then switch off the main switch at the top. 

Three cautions:

  1. If your floor is flooded or if the electrical panel is wet, do not touch the panel. 
  2. If you see exposed wires inside the box, do not touch them. In both cases, call the electric company or an electrician to handle this dangerous task.
  3. Do not flip the main switch except for during an emergency.

Non-emergency power problems

The switches should be labeled so you can tell which ones control where - if it doesn't, you may want to create your own or have an electrician out to label your panel for you. If you’re having a problem with electricity in a particular room or with one appliance, you can flip the switch that powers just that area. Often, when there are electrical problems you’ll find that the individual switch is “off,” and you can solve the problem by simply turning it back "on". 


Photo Credit

  • Shutterstock


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